Orange County father, son arrested for fraudulent car consignment business

Economic crimes detectives in Orange County say a father and son took advantage of the classic car market. Both 72-year-old Michael Dean Smith Sr. and his son Michael Smith Jr. face similar charges of racketeering and fraud.It’s all tied to a now-closed classic car consignment business. Just Toys Classic Cars was set up like most consignment businesses — owners sign papers with the business, leave the car and once it’s sold, the owner gets most of the sale price. The business usually gets a share for making the deal. According to the investigative paperwork, the owners “did not hear from Just Toys Classic Cars.” When they checked back, they were told by either Smith Sr. or his son that the car was “sold or about to be sold and ask for more time.”When owners pushed back, asking for their money, they were given “various excuses for why they had not received their funds.” The lengthy complaint lays out the number of alleged victims and the amount of money they claim to have lost. Officials said there were 20 victims involving 21 vehicles and totaled $614,000.The former owner of a 1941 Ford Street Rod said he was promised $35,000 once Just Toys Classic Cars sold it. The car’s owner says he found out it was sold when he went to renew the tag. He sued, was awarded $90,000, but still has not been paid. The man was pleased to learn of the arrests. A former employee was interviewed by economic crimes detectives. The employee was asked why he left Just Toys Classic Cars. He said, “Because I found out what they were doing.” Just Toys Classic Cars lost its dealer’s license in October 2019 and closed two months later.The detective wrote in his conclusion the Smiths had “no intention of ever providing payment to the victims.” The paperwork says the money from the car sales seemed to go to creditors, lawyers and into business and personal accounts of the Smiths. Both have bonded out of jail.

Economic crimes detectives in Orange County say a father and son took advantage of the classic car market.

Both 72-year-old Michael Dean Smith Sr. and his son Michael Smith Jr. face similar charges of racketeering and fraud.

It’s all tied to a now-closed classic car consignment business. Just Toys Classic Cars was set up like most consignment businesses — owners sign papers with the business, leave the car and once it’s sold, the owner gets most of the sale price.

The business usually gets a share for making the deal.

According to the investigative paperwork, the owners “did not hear from Just Toys Classic Cars.” When they checked back, they were told by either Smith Sr. or his son that the car was “sold or about to be sold and ask for more time.”

When owners pushed back, asking for their money, they were given “various excuses for why they had not received their funds.”

The lengthy complaint lays out the number of alleged victims and the amount of money they claim to have lost.

Officials said there were 20 victims involving 21 vehicles and totaled $614,000.

The former owner of a 1941 Ford Street Rod said he was promised $35,000 once Just Toys Classic Cars sold it.

The car’s owner says he found out it was sold when he went to renew the tag. He sued, was awarded $90,000, but still has not been paid. The man was pleased to learn of the arrests.

A former employee was interviewed by economic crimes detectives. The employee was asked why he left Just Toys Classic Cars.

He said, “Because I found out what they were doing.”

Just Toys Classic Cars lost its dealer’s license in October 2019 and closed two months later.

The detective wrote in his conclusion the Smiths had “no intention of ever providing payment to the victims.”

The paperwork says the money from the car sales seemed to go to creditors, lawyers and into business and personal accounts of the Smiths. Both have bonded out of jail.

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